Diving Farnsworth Wall

Diving Farnsworth Wall

Posted by Dive Pro: Scuba Seagull on on 15th Jun 2023

     If you've never been to Catalina Island's Farnsworth Wall/Pinnacle, you're missing out on one of the BEST dive sites that SoCal has to offer.

     Between the gorgeous natural structure of it's rock reef and the bounties of biodiversity living within, Farnsworth Wall (aka Farnsworth Banks/Pinnacle, Yellow Wall at Farnsworth) is a dive experience you will remember for years to come! 

For more info on our Farnsworth charters and to book your trip, visit our boat diving schedule found here


     Farnsworth Pinnacle is about 2.5 miles off shore from back side Catalina. This dive site is in open ocean (aka blue water) and thus is an advanced divers only site. This means that you need the PADI Advanced Open Water certification (or equivalent from an other agency) or higher level.  

Dive Site Depth / Reef Structure:

     The top of the pinnacle starts around 58-66ft and continues down way beyond recreational depth limit. For most dives, divers will typically explore between 90-107ft deep. The pinnacle consists of plateauing saddle ridges that can be used to hide from the open ocean current and maintain depth with visual references. Within the ridges, there are purple hydrocorals lining the rock wall. 

Planning the Dive: 

     Because this site is a deep dive, be sure to plan accordingly. When diving and advanced site, it is best to use conservative and prudent judgment. Make sure that you and your buddy acknowledge starting air pressure and agree on reasonable turn pressure that is well within your limits. Be sure to descend and ascend along the anchor line as the current just off the reef can be treacherous. Make sure you have a dive light for looking in cracks and crevasses as well as for signaling (it's a good idea to have a backup!). 

     Due to the depth if you want a dive with longer bottom time, it is recommended that you dive with Nitrox (EANx). If you're not yet EANx certified, you can get it here

     Visibility at Farnsworth can vary greatly. On the average day, visibility can range from 30-40ft. On a good day it can upwards of 60+ft! Be prepared for visibility less than 20ft as many factors like depth, time of day, and floating debris may impact how far you can see. 

     The charters for this dive site depart at 6am so you must be at the boat by 5am. Make sure to get lots of rest and drink lots of water.

What You'll See:

     Pinnacle and Reef - Alongside the sprawling hydrocorals that cover most of the pinnacle, on one side of the dive site is the famous "Yellow Wall." The wall is given it's name due to the abundance of yellow gorgonian sea fans that completely cover it all the way down past 140ft. The wall itself is 60-70ft wide.

     Marine Life - Expect to see lots of schooling fish, lobsters, moray eels, various nudibranchs, octopuses, and if you're lucky, Sea Lions! Occasionally, you may also spot the rare California electric ray! 

Possible Nudibranchs: 

Spanish Shawl

Opalescent Nudibranch


Other Possible Marine Life:


California Electric Ray 

Spiny Lobster

All in all this dive site is world class and definitely worth the experience! Rate 11/10!